THRILLS, spills and an off-field contretemps thrown in – ample evidence that the concept of a play-off between the SPL and SFL First Division ought to have been a no-brainer all along.
Alloa stepped through on aggregate to set up what is sure to be an engrossing showdown with Dunfermline to claim a place in the First Division next season, but Brechin made a real contest of this second leg despite trailing by 2-0 from the two sides’ first meeting at Glebe Park.
Andy Jackson’s opener for the visitors arrived within four minutes and fired the starting gun for a fast and occasionally furious encounter, which boiled over when the Wasps scored a first half equaliser through striker Kevin Cawley.
A melee broke out between the two dugouts and Alloa manager Paul Hartley found himself in the thick of things. “They celebrated their goal close to my dugout”, he insisted. “I then celebrated our goal, which I’m entitled to do, and things spilled over a little bit. That’s the way it goes - nothing really in it.”
Hartley, along with his Brechin counterpart Ray MacKinnon, were banished to the stands by referee Willie Collum in the aftermath but the Angus club’s first team coach, Darren Taylor, was in no doubt about who was the culprit in chief. “It was as clear as day that a fist came across my face aimed at the manager. I’ll let their manager decide how his conduct was – for me it was terrible.”
Second half penalties scored by Alan Trouten for the visitors and then Calum Elliot for Alloa maintained the pulsating quality of the game before Jackson grabbed another in the dying seconds to give Brechin the consolation of winning on the day.